Our Cruise -Day Five

Finally, the last day of our cruise. We didn't realize that we could have sent our luggage to the airport ahead of us so we we headed off the boat with all our luggage at 9:30am to roam the streets of Miami until our 3pm flight. Now, this last day was almost as adventurous as the entire cruise and it only cost about $50. We asked our cab driver if he knew of a place that we could drop our luggage for the day. He recommended a hotel and drove us there. We were approached by a couple of porters and we sheepishly asked if we could store our luggage there while we were hanging out at the beach. He leaned over and whispered, SURE, we just ask for $5 a bag and we'll keep it here for you. I (Hannah) the skeptic looked at him and said, "this is totally legit?" He laughed and said yes. We proceeded to follow him into this BEAUTIFUL hotel and he asked the woman at the desk for a name of someone who had already checked out. I was given that new name and he said, there is a pool on the roof, showers, and beach deck chairs all for you "Miss Olin". Ha!! We went to the beach and gave the lady our "name" and she gave us deck chairs, towels and an umbrella. It was very obvious that everyone was "in" on it because she winked at us. We found out later that her brother lives in Pittsburgh and she has attended our church!! That was actually one of the more relaxing days that we had -I napped on the beach in my comfy chair and fed the seagulls. I think I've mentioned that I like animals right? After our relaxing stay on the beach, we headed into Miami to a locals restaurant Las Olas Cafe -this was NOT your typical tourist place. They only spoke Spanish and I didn't recognize anything on the menu besides rice. It was delicious. We had to get some change so we could tip the porters so we stopped at a little outdoor restaurant that had 30+ flavors of smoothies. We were told the price for a small was $7. Our jaws dropped open due to the cost but we HAD to make change so we bought one. I (Hannah) started sipping my new fruit smoothie, not really enjoying it. Something was wrong with it. Dale grabbed it -"um...it has alcohol in it Hannah, this is a margarita" Ha. We had a good laugh. My first drink and it was accidental. If I'm keeping tabs, I don't consider that a real drink. I had 2 sips. Nasty to say the least. yuck. That $7 went down the sewer. We headed back to the hotel with our change, showered on the roof near the pool, and gathered our belongings. It was a beautiful hotel -I highly recommend actually staying there -especially because of the customer service. It is called The Hotel of South Miami. We made it to the airport just in time to find out that our flights were delayed for at least an hour and half due to weather in Atlanta. Wish we would have known earlier. We could have spent more time on the beach. We spent hours sitting on the Miami beach airport floor waiting for our flight. We were assured that all our connecting … [Read more...]

Our Cruise -Day Four

One word that would describe this trip is "international." wow. It was amazing to be surrounded by so many different people, nations, and tongues. We heard at least 5 different languages on the deck on our first day from passengers and the crew was even more so diverse. Loved it. Sunday was finally my day to sleep! I slept until 11 that morning and Dale went and worked out for a few hours. We had a nice brunch in the Windjammer cafe again. The ship hosted a belly flop contest and an ice sculpture demonstration. The ice was melting FAST so it was quick because it was outdoors and 80 degrees. In the middle of our afternoon, we went on a backstage tour -a highlight for both Dale and I to see the backstage and ask as many questions as we wanted to. Took ANOTHER nap in the afternoon and then lounged by the pool again all afternoon. We wanted to soak up as much sun as possible. When we booked the trip, we had the option to have dinner just ourselves or a table of 10. We chose table of 10 of course -how fun! We had a GREAT group and truly enjoyed our conversations. You never quite know what kind of people you'll get but we looked forward to dinner every night because of them. Dale of course had to be the entertainer. I had to rein him in a few times but only because I was the only one who understood his humor the first night. The dining room was huge -in the picture below, you can see ours was 3 stories. After dinner, we hunted down one of the bands to see if they were playing swing and to our sadness they were not. We went star gazing again and saw more than 20 shooting stars, we packed our bags and headed to bed. Check back later this week for the adventures of our last day which included a rooftop pool, a drink that cost $7 and the flights home that took forever. … [Read more...]

Our Cruise -Day Three -Cozumel!

Did you guess where the above days of the week are located on the ship? The ELEVATORS! Saturday was a BIG day. We woke up in Cozumel! We grabbed some breakfast and then headed down the dock to the meeting point for our excursion. Excursions are offered through the boat, or things to do when you get to the island. They are not a part of the cost, so anything you book through the ship is additional. My excursion was to swim with dolphins! Other options were parasailling, snorkeling, atv-ing. things like that. Dale didn't want to swim with dolphins so he just paid to "observe." Swimming with the dolphins was exhilarating. If you haven't noticed by now, I LOVE animals. We were given a 15 minute training on hand signals to use with the dolphins and then taken into the water. I was the first to swim out about 50 yards in the middle of the water with a boogie board, do the foot signal and anxiously wait for the dolphin to come up behind me under water and push me to shore. It was so scarey. In your head, sing the "du-du-du-du" song from Jaws. I had to have my legs perfectly straight and very tight, my dolphin, Titan came up and put his nose on my foot. The split second he did that, my legs weren't straight, so he started to push and I didn't go anywhere. He stopped and waited for me to straighten my legs and then tried again. SMART ANIMAL. He gave us kisses, I got to "hold" him, hear him talk underwater, and hold onto his fins while we swam around. It was totally worth it. Did I mention I like animals? Totally worth the $5. After our excursion, we were shuttled back to the port. We jumped onto the ship and had a quick lunch. After lunch our real adventure started. We rented a scooter and our destination was a bar on the other side of the island where my sister and her husband visited 2 years prior. Love to scooter and Dale is really good at driving. Albeit, I hung on so tight for the first few miles, I lost feeling in my knuckles. ha. The ride home was a little more relaxed on my part. We were to find their names written on the bamboo. After 45 minutes of searching...we were stumped. I think they painted over them. sorry liz...and sorry Kavan...I didn't have a picture with you in a shirt. As you can tell below, it was cloudy out that day but nothing could dampen our adventure to the other side of the island. We ended up on the "locals" beach. The best beach on the island. We had to drive 30 miles from the other side of the island to get away from the rocky beaches and the rest of the beaches where 4 cruise boats dumped their tourists. We started back to the ship about 1 1/2 hours prior to it leaving. As we started the scooter up...it kept DYING. We started to wonder how we were going to get back to the ship. Did you know that the ship won't wait?! If you're not there, they LEAVE you. Anyhoo, after a few attempts, Dale got it started and we headed back. We only got a little lost driving … [Read more...]